Wednesday, April 20, 2011

West Side Chili Parlor Review

For Quest stop #14 we once again returned to Glenway Avenue, this time to try the West Side Chili Parlor which is located in Bridgetown. West Side Chili is relatively new to the Cincinnati chili scene, July 10th will be their 4 year anniversary.

When we first approached West Side Chili we had flashbacks to JK's Chili, both were located in a small strip mall and both have similar window fronts. However the interiors couldn't be more different. West Side has a nice homey, brand new look inside. One of the very few, maybe only, places we have visited that has a carpeted floor. West Side embraces that it is a Cincinnati restaurant as the walls are covered in photos of Cincinnati, there is even a painting of Union Terminal on one wall. When we visited there were only two people working. Our waitress was very nice but we did have to wait for our food a bit longer than usual. This might have caused a problem with Alison's coneys (more on that in her review).

West Side Chili is best known for the variety of chilies they serve. Along with the standard Cincinnati style chili, there is spicy, Tex-Mex, vegetarian and spicy vegetarian. If you would like to try all 5 chilies you can order their chili sampler. If a standard cheese coney is just too "healthy" for you, then West Side has an alternative you may enjoy. "The Ripper" is a deep fried cheese coney! I guess you really can deep fry anything. They also feature a really hot coney called the "Atomic" coney. Another unique item on their menu is the Glennway, which is their 6-way. Diced hot dogs are the addition to this way. If you have ever wanted to combine a coney with a way, you now have that choice. Aside from the chili dishes, their menu is the standard Cincinnati chili diner menu, which is double deckers and grilled items like burgers.

Clint's Review

While West Side Chili features 5 varieties of chili, I stuck with the standard Cincinnati style for my coneys. Their standard chili is on the sweet side of the Cincinnati chili spectrum. I thought the chili tasted fine, but there was one problem I had: the amount. Much like at Empress, our very first quest stop, I felt there was not enough chili on the coneys. I enjoyed what I tasted just wished there was more of it on the coney. Balance is very important that can make or break a coney.

One standout feature on the coney was the cheese, it appeared to be a freshly grated sharp cheddar. Typically you get mild cheddar at chili parlors, I liked this unique touch of sharp instead of mild. Nothing else too noteworthy with my coneys. I felt the buns could have been a little softer but didn't think they were too hard either.

I really like what West Side Chili Parlor is trying to do here. Being a newcomer they do a lot to stick out from the other chili parlors in town. Overall I liked their product but left wanting more. I give West Side a 3 out of 5.

Alison's Review

Since Westside Chili is known for their multiple chili options, I opted to try three different types on our visit--Cincinnati Style, Cincinnati Spicy, and Tex Mex. I've heard a lot of good things about their vegetarian chilies, but knowing very little about going meatless, I will let someone with better veggie tastebuds review those varieties.

The Cincinnati Style was a simple and sweet chili. Nothing too complex or outstanding, but not bad. The Cincinnati Spicy had a pretty big kick to it. I couldn't pick up much flavor behind what just tasted like a lot of hot sauce. The Tex Mex was also hot, though not as much, and it wasn't particularly interesting. It very well might be the Cincinnati Style with ground beef chunks, beans, and jalapenos mixed in.

The hot dog, mustard, and onion were all pretty good, but again, nothing particularly special.  The fresh-grated cheese was a little better than average.

Leave it at that and Westside might have gotten a solid middle-of-the-road ranking from me. But there was one factor that really distracted me throughout my meal. The fastest way to ruin a cheese coney is to let it sit more than a minute before it gets to the customer. Especially with more watery chili, the bun can become soggy and doughy pretty fast. I'm not sure if I'm bothered by this more than most people, but this single factor really detracted from the quality of the overall product. I'm giving the Westside Chili cheese coneys a 2.75 out of 5 starts.

West Side Chili Parlor on Urbanspoon

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